Thornton shoots 65 for share of lead in France
SAINT-OMER, France (AP)
Simon Thornton of Ireland made a hole in one to shoot 6-under 65 and share a one-stroke lead with Tjaart Van der Walt of South Africa and Baptiste Chapellan of France after the third round of the Najeti Hotels Open on Saturday.
Thornton made two eagles, including an ace on No. 11, three birdies and a bogey for a 4-under 209 total. Chapellan carded a 69 while overnight leader Van der Walt limited the damage with a 71.
''There were a few high fives and shouts,'' Thornton said about his hole in one. ''It was my first one in a professional tournament, so I was delighted.''
Last year, Thornton finished 11th at this tournament while Chapellan missed the cut.
''I was 7 over after my first 27 holes, so just to make the cut and then play well today was a bonus, and it's anybody's tournament now,'' Thornton said.
His only top-10 finish on the European Tour was at the BMW International Open three years ago in Munich, where he wound up ninth.
Seve Benson of England shot a 70 to move into fourth place, one stroke clear of Max Glauert of Germany, Chris Lloyd of England and Victor Riu of France, tied for fifth at 211.
Van der Walt was under pressure early in the afternoon, sharing the lead with five golfers at 4 under: Thornton, Glauert, Riu, Jeppe Huldahl of Denmark and Robert Dinwiddie of England.
The South African made an eagle, two birdies and a bogey to move three strokes clear of the chasing pack. But he then fell into a tie by dropping three shots in the last three holes.
''My mistakes were so close to being good shots, but in that wind anything can happen,'' Van der Walt said. ''Overall I'm feeling comfortable and maybe tomorrow I can move clear of the field and then not drop back.''